8.3 Discussion: Eric Shinseki’s Image Repair for the Veteran’s Administration Healthcare Scandal


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In May 2014, the Inspector General’s office issued a report that confirmed concerns that veterans were not receiving timely medical care. The Veterans Affairs had maintained a secret list of veterans who sought medical care, which was part of an elaborate scheme designed by VA managers in Phoenix trying to hide 1400-1600 sick veterans who were forced to wait months for treatment. At least 40 veterans died waiting for appointments. In polls reported by CBS News, many citizens felt that General Eric Shinseki, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and the VA deserved the blame. Shinseki resigned from his position and apologized for the scandal.

The case study details Shinseki’s image repair effort using the theory of image repair discourse by Benoit.

Using the case study, each student should post in the discussion area, responses to questions 3 and 4, which are located on page 22.

  • Question 3: Does it make sense to use bolstering and/or shift blame with mortification? Why or why not?
  • Question 4: Do you think Shinseki should have used any of the image repair strategies he chose not to use? Why or why not?

After answering and posting each question, comment on a minimum of one post for each of your classmates. Do you agree or disagree with what they have posted? Please make sure to provide fact-driven answers as to why you agree or disagree.

This discussion aligns with the following module objectives:

  • Evaluate the efficacy of the crisis management performance as it aligns with the crisis management plan.
  • Interpret that crisis communication obligations extend beyond the conclusion of a crisis through follow-up considerations.
Explanation & Answer

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